are everywhere and they play a key role in our ecosystems, but have you ever
considered that they could also be the answer to our climate change problem?
is the typical response that I receive when I remotely suggest introducing
insects, such as crickets, into our diet. I also hear responses like, “how can
an insect the size of a loonie help reduce my ecological footprint?”.
Benefits of insect protein
Some arguments suggest that consuming more insect protein will have a positive impact on our environment. If we farmed more crickets than livestock, we could save approximately 12 times the amount of resources, such as land, water and feed. Moreover, if a family of 4 substituted insect protein in one meal once a week they would be saving approximately 650,000 litres of water.
In addition, insect farms are able to house more grams of protein per square foot than traditional livestock farming, saving our natural landscape. And don’t worry, you won’t be missing out on vitamins and nutrients. Insects contain essential nutrients such as B12, iron, amino acids, calcium, Omega 3s, and more.
There is a misconception that eating insects is a new fad. However, eating insects is not new. In fact, it is estimated that more than 80% of the world consumes insects as a part of their regular diet.
Another misconception is that we have to completely replace livestock protein with insect protein, which is not true. However, if we all supplement our diets with more insect protein our environment would be better for it. Whether we know it or not, we are eating insects regularly in our diet anyway. For example, they are a part of red food dye and they’re mixed into our pasta, grains, and flour.
Give insects a try
We don’t have to dramatically change our diet today, but supplementing your diet with some insect protein can reduce your ecological footprint and emissions. You can simply add protein powder to your pancakes, muffins, smoothies or start adding crickets to your salad instead of meat or chicken. These are small steps that will have a positive impact on our environment.
All of us have the power to change our earth for the better and reducing our meat consumption and substituting ecologically sustainable protein sources like insect protein can be a great way to start. Cricket protein flour can increasingly be found in your local grocery store, like Loblaws. You can also order insect protein and other product online from suppliers like Entomo Farms.
Help inspire others to go #GreenStepByStep by sharing the ways you’re making a difference on social media. Don’t forget to use the hashtag so we can help spread the love!
Tia Muma is a 4th-year student at the University of Guelph studying English and Zoology. You can find her engaging with our curiosity of nature through public outreach. She wants to spread awareness of the critical role that small critters play in our environment.